3 fun tricks using a balloon and static electricity
Three cool tricks with balloons and static electricity
- inflated balloon;
Rub the balloon vigorously on your hair to electrify it. Hold it a small distance away from your hair and observe how your hair is pulled to the balloon. Try the oatmeal experiment, and “pull” the balloon to your hand!
All the objects surrounding us can be described as matter. Matter consists of atoms, and atoms consist of charged particles: protons and electrons (and electrically-neutral neutrons). Electrons carry a negative charge, while protons are positively charged. Usually, they balance each other out, keeping objects neutrally charged. When frictional forces arise between two objects, the surface-layer atoms of one object can give some of their electrons to the other object. The object that gives up its electrons becomes positively charged, and the one that accepts electrons acquires a negative charge. In our experiment, the balloon’s surface accepts some electrons and becomes negatively charged. An electric field appears around it, and attractive forces appear between the balloon and the positively- and neutrally-charged surrounding.